If you are new to growing houseplants, houseplant parenting can be a challenge. There’s so much information out there – how do you know what to believe? Here are four common misconceptions along with what you can do to keep your plants healthy and happy.
#1: IT IS OKAY TO TRANSPLANT INTO A CACHE POT WITH NO DRAINAGE
For a long-lasting, healthy plant, adequate drainage is always the best policy. Flowerland has a great selection of cache pots, which typically do not have a drainage hole. The purpose of a cache pot is to cover the less attractive grower’s pot. Since all root balls need good airflow and will develop root rot if their “feet” are constantly moist, if you use a cache pot, keep the plant in its plastic grower’s pot. To water, just remove the potted plant from the cache pot, take it to a sink or patio to water, then let it fully drain before replacing it.
Fun Fact: A cache pot is a decorative container usually used to conceal a flowerpot. The French verb “cacher” means to hide and the word cache pot translates as “it hides the pot”.
#2: WATER IS THE SOLUTION TO A DROOPY PLANT
Everyone’s first reaction to a droopy plant is that it needs water. And sometimes that is the reason. But if you water it and the leaves do not perk up within a reasonable amount of time, it may be suffering from root rot. This happens when the plant is consistently over-watered or has been sitting in a pot that has standing water in the bottom. It is possible your plant can recover but only time will tell. Immediately let the root ball dry out and then water less often. If you want to be adventurous, remove the plant from the pot and only keep the parts of the plant that have healthy roots attached. Repot that part with fresh soil into a smaller pot that is an appropriate size for the now-smaller roots.
Fun Fact: Healthy roots are generally pale in color and will feel firm and pliable. Often you can tell the health of the soil by the aroma…Take a sniff.
#3: REPOTTING IS “THE FIX” FOR A STRUGGLING PLANT
This is probably the most common misconception. Repotting your plant might very well fix the problem if it’s rootbound. However more often the plant is struggling for other reasons like not enough or too much light, over or under-watering, unidentified pests, or a lack of fertilizer. In these circumstances, repotting actually increases the problem and stresses the plant.
Fun Fact: Sometimes the stress of being rootbound can encourage a plant to flower or produce offshoots. This is the case for the Christmas cactus and the spider plant.
#4: TILLANDSIA (AIR PLANTS) DON’T NEED WATERING
As with everything in the plant world, water is necessary for survival. Air plants are unique and have specific watering needs that depend upon light and moisture conditions. Soak them or mist them with water that has sat out overnight to release the chlorine. Avoid watering at night when the plant is taking up carbon dioxide. And make sure your plant does not sit on anything that retains moisture, like moss, fabric, or sand. That will rot the bottom. Take your air plant and dip it in the sink filled with water. A few moments each week or so will do the trick.
Fun Fact: Tillandsias are a part of the Pineapple family (Bromeliaceae)!